Updated: Aug 15
A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum
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Fairy Tales Do Come True
Fairy tales are an essential part of childhood. While we sometimes make the mistake of equating fairy tales with damsels in distress and romance, they are so much more than that. The older, original fairy tales typically teach a lesson or depict the struggle between good and evil. These stories, while sometimes dark, are designed to help children understand conflict and how to overcome challenges or model behaviors. They are appealing to young people because, in the innocence of childhood, they still have the ability to believe in magic and immerse themselves in the fantasy.
Building Background Knowledge
Thanks to Walt Disney, most toddlers have been exposed to animated versions of fairy tales ranging from the Mickey Mouse version of Jack and the Beanstalk to the Tangled iteration of Rapunzel (unless you are completely screen-free and then you are my hero). While that is great, there are still many fairy tales that haven't made it to the big screen but are still important to know. As a former English teacher, I can attest that being familiar with a wide range of well-known stories and literature is critical for recognizing allusion. If you have never read The Three Little Pigs or Little Red Riding Hood, would you know the character traits of the Big Bad Wolf?
If you choose to watch the animated versions, I recommend reading the story first to let their brain practice visualizing the story through text and words alone. After viewing the video, talk about what was different from reading the story (i.e. sound effects, music, action). One of the skills children will need to learn when they get to school is comparing and contrasting a text to it audio or video version.
Disney's Silly Symphony - The Big Bad Wolf (Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood)
*Books with an asterisk are my Top 5 Picks to Add to Your Home Library for this unit
Mary Engelbreit's Nursery and Fairy Tales Collection* - Engelbreit, Mary
The Three Little Pigs - Galdone, Paul
Three Billy Goats Gruff* - Carpenter, Stephen
Little Red Riding Hood - Marshall, James
The Gingerbread Man - Galdone, Paul
Goldilocks and the Three Bears - Marshall, James
Strega Nona* - dePaola, Tomie
Additional Book List
Books in bold are also suggested books in another unit.
My Fabulous Fairy Tale Collection - Silver Dolphin Books
Little Red Riding Hood - Retold by Beatrix Potter, Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales - Usborne Illustrated
Alternate Versions of Classic Fairy Tales
Three Snow Bears - Brett, Jan
Three Little Cajun Pigs - Artell, Mike
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs - Scieszka, Jon
Petite Rouge - Artell, Mike
Goldie and the Three Bears - Stanley, Diane
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs - Willems, Mo
The Stinky Cheese Main and Other Fairly Stupid Tales - Scieszka, Jon
Forgotten Fairy Tales of Brave and Brilliant Girls - Usborne Illustrated
The Other Side of the Story - Fairy Tales with a Twist - Braun, Eric Mark and Loewen, Nancy
Another Other Side of the Story - Fairy Tales with a Twist - Gunderson, Jessica and Loewen, Nancy
Not Quite Snow White - Franklin, Ashley (diverse characters)
Educational Games and Toys
Melissa & Doug Fairy Tale Friends Hand Puppets - Little Red Riding Hood --> Puppets are a great way to practice summarizing and sequencing events
For this unit, I decided the best thing to do was read as many fairy tales as we could to maximize my toddler's exposure. We found different ways of making connections and bringing them to life. For example, we had planted a sunflower in our backyard and it was tall enough that we pretended that it was Jack's beanstalk. We watched songs and clips from old Disney movies and built Rapunzel's tower with Magna-Tiles. Find the stories that fascinate your child and have fun with it.
What was your favorite part of this unit? What other books did you read? What other activities did you do? Please share your photos and feedback in the Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler Curriculum Facebook Group in Units→ Fairy Tales.
Until next time, may your coffee be warm and your toddler be busy
Up Next: Playing Preschool: Unit 19 - Water
See Also: Introduction to Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler, A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum, Unit 1: Apples, Unit 2: Colors, Unit 3: Nursery Rhymes, Unit 4: Clothing, Unit 5: Food, Unit 6: Five Senses, Unit 7: Teddy Bears, Unit 8: Things That Go Together, Unit 9: Community Helpers, Unit 10: Transportation, Unit 11: On the Farm, Unit 12: Weather, Unit 13: Eggs, Unit 14: Plants, Unit 15: Construction, Unit 16: Pets, Unit 17: Opposites